Revenge on the radar for the new Black Stars
Ghana play Portugal, Korea Republic and Uruguay in Group H
We look at the approach of Otto Addo, who trusts in youth
A boy wonder and a veteran forward are key to the Black Stars' hopes
Fans from Ghana are once more having fun. Even if they had to travel a difficult journey to get there, their team will return to the greatest of stages in Qatar 2022 after missing the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Milovan Rejavac was fired as Ghana's coach after the team lost in the group stage of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year and Otto Addo was brought in. The 47-year-old took charge of a nation for which he had previously played 15 times and led them to Qatar thanks to an away-goal victory over archrivals Nigeria in the African play-offs. The player spent several years playing in the Bundesliga, including for Borussia Dortmund.
Ghana was placed in Group H with Portugal, Uruguay, and the Republic of Korea. When the final of those three names was drawn out of the hat, many Ghanaians probably cringed. In dramatic manner, Uruguay eliminated the Black Stars from South Africa 2010's quarterfinals. Because they play each other in the third and final group game, there may be a lot at stake, Ghana has an opportunity to get retribution in what promises to be a tough match.
In a group that is quite strong, Ghana is the unexpected standout. The team features a unique blend of talented and experienced players who are capable of winning games in this event, despite their performances on the road to the World Cup, which were to put it mildly, up and down. It will be up to Addo as the coach to discover the ideal combination and provide the team with the confidence it needs to upend the status quo in Qatar.
Clevpicks.com will introduce you the Ghana national football team...
Ghana‘s Group H matches
Portugal-Ghana | 24 November (19:00 local time)
Korea Republic-Ghana | 28 November (16:00 local time)
Ghana-Uruguay | 2 December (18:00 local time)
Otto Addo’s approach and tactics
After barely making it through the second round of World Cup qualifying, Ghana was forced to take on Nigeria's Super Eagles in March, with a trip to Qatar on the line. This was indeed Addo's baptism of fire because he only took over coaching duties from Rajevac in February. He was already familiar with the team from his previous position as assistant coach, but he only had a short amount of time to get ready for the important games against Nigeria. The fact that he also had a lot of absences in the team to manage did not make his task any simpler.
Rajevac's starting lineup from his final game as manager saw five changes made by Addo. For the first leg against Nigeria, he elevated young players Mohammed Kudus and Felix Afena-Gyan to the starting lineup. The team looked especially strong defensively, switching between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 system. In recent years, this had been a major issue for Ghana, but in Addo's first game in charge, they managed to avoid any goals, drawing 0-0. He subsequently fielded the same lineup for the return leg, and his faith was rewarded with a valiant effort in a 1-1 draw that advanced them to the World Cup on the basis of away goals.
With four starters against Nigeria under the age of 25, including two teens, it is already evident that Addo would not hesitate to select young players. They will infuse the club with new energy and put pressure on the more seasoned players as they strive to achieve their full potential in Qatar.
Key player: Andre Ayew
Andre Ayew is one of the most intriguing and important members of Addo's team. The Ghana skipper has 107 international matches under his belt and is on pace to surpass Asamoah Gyan's record of 109 appearances. The great Abedi Pele's son ranks sixth among all scorers for his nation with 23 goals in international play. He competed in the team that captured the U-20 world and continental championship in 2009.
These numbers and facts help to illustrate how important Ayew is to the national squad. The 32-year-old will be hoping to turn his many years of international experience up front into a load of goals by the end of November, with his younger brother Jordan (81 appearances, 19 goals), who is also an important member of the squad.
He relocated to Qatar last season to play for Al-Sadd, so when the World Cup begins, he will be well accustomed to the playing environment. He is very much Addo's right-hand man and will be crucial in guiding the younger members of the squad after making a name for himself as a young player on the international stage. Back in South Africa 2010, he lost out to Thomas Muller in the voting for the Best Young Player honor.
One to watch: Mohammed Kudus
Prior to the 2020–21 season, Kudus relocated to the Dutch Eredivisie, where he joined Ajax and saw action in both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. He has scored in each of his team's first three Champions League games, against Rangers, Liverpool, and Napoli, which speaks much about his performance this season. In his meeting against the Glasgow club, he not only scored but also provided an assist, earning him the title of player of the match and a spot on the Champions League team of the week. Additionally, he has four goals this season in eight Eredivisie contests.
In his 16 international games to date, the 22-year-old offensive midfielder has scored five goals and cemented his place as one of Addo's first choices for the starting lineup. As a young player, he frequently assumed leadership responsibilities and has the talent to distinguish out as one of Qatar 2022's star performers. He is frequently mentioned as one of the most brilliant players born in 2000 for good reason.
Ghana’s World Cup record
Fans of Ghana's national team had to wait until 2006 for their squad to make its World Cup debut. The Black Stars, who included John Mensah, Stephen Appiah, and Asamoah Gyan in their lineup, advanced to the Round of 16 in Germany before falling to Brazil. Ghana improved at South Africa 2010 before losing to Uruguay in the quarterfinals.
At Brazil 2014, Ghana struggled in a very difficult group, but they could be proud of themselves because they were the only team to beat eventual champions Germany without losing. The Black Stars were unable to get through Egypt in the Russia 2018 qualifying round and were forced to watch the competition at home.
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